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Articles by Rick Bass

Rick Bass lives in western Montana and is a board member of the Yaak Valley Forest Council. He's the author of 25 books of fiction and nonfiction, including a forthcoming novel, Nashville Chrome.

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Now that’s a Mammoth truck.A new scheme threatens to tear up Montana to facilitate tar-sands oil extraction in Canada.

Imperial Oil (you couldn’t make up a name like that) has contracted with the Dutch company Mammoet (meaning “mammoth,” another apt name) to transport giant machines from South Korea through Idaho and Montana to Canada’s Athabaskan tar-sands project in Alberta.

Imperial, which is 69.6 percent owned by ExxonMobil, has proposed to Montana that an initial round of 200 giant machines creep through the state almost daily and nightly for a year. Some of the machines weigh 334,000 pounds and measure 24 feet wide by 30 feet tall by 160 feet long.

The proposed route would avoid any overpasses or underpasses, eliminating the need for complicated and pricey reconstruction projects. But it would require giant new highway turnouts, scheduled to be built before the trucks start traveling late this fall.

Imperial is speed-rushing a permit through the Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT). Montana decided that this was not a federal issue, that there was insufficient controversy for it to be considered for federal r... Read more

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